DHL's Parcelcopter is automated drone delivery in action

DHL's latest model drone can speed package delivery to remote areas.

Sending packages by airplane is nothing new, but the task could soon be taken over by drones.

DHL recently completed of a three-month-long test of its automated drone delivery system, the Parcelcopter. It works with a combination helipad and mailbox dubbed Skyport, which can automatically load and unload the drone’s payload when it lands and store it in one of the station’s lockers.

Testing took place between January and March of 2016 in Bavaria, Germany. The idea was to see if the drone could be used to deliver packages to areas that are remote and where standard delivery takes a long time.

According to DHL, the Parcelcopter successfully completed 130 autonomous loading and unloading cycles while dealing with rapidly changing weather conditions and temperature fluctuations. Each round trip covered 8 kilometers with the drone flying 1,200 meters above sea level. Flying at a speed of 70 km/hour, the Parcelcopter was able to deliver its payload within 8 minutes of take-off. A trip that takes 30 minutes by car in winter.

This latest round of testing is part of a larger research and innovation project that DHL has been working on since 2013, when the company’s first generation Parcelcopter was used to deliver medication from one bank of the Rhine river in Bonn to the other. DHL has made a number of improvements to their newest drone model including increasing its payload allowance from 1.2kg to 2kg and upping its altitude limits for flight in mountainous terrain.

Of course, other companies are also hoping to get a piece of the drone delivery pie. Amazon and Google have been testing their own drones, while UPS has partnered with start-up Zipline to deliver vaccines and blood to remote areas in Rwanda starting in July.

DHL has not said when its automated drone delivery service would be available to the public. In the U.S., nothing can really happen until the FAA makes a decision on how to deal with automated drones buzzing around in our airspace.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Magdalena Petrova

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?